No licences at dolphinariums

| 04/02/2009

(CNS): Accusations that neither of Cayman’s dolphin facilities have operating licences, contrary to the Animal Law, made by local activist Billy Adam have been confirmed by the Department of Agriculture. It stated that, in fact, no animal facility on the island has ever been issued with such a licence as the enabling regulations for the law have not been written. The department said, however, that the absence of operating licences did not mean that it was unable to regulate such facilities and ensure the welfare of the animals.

In response to the question about the licences, Acting Assistant Director Brian Crichlow explained on behalf of the department that, although the Animals Law does include a requirement for operating licences for a wide range of commercial activities such as kennels, guard dog services and zoos, to date no operating licences have everbeen issued for any of these facilities because without the enabling regulations the licences can’t be given.  

“The Ministry of District Administration, Planning, Agriculture and Housing and the Department of Agriculture agrees that this situation is undesirable and are working with the legal department to draft the necessary regulations. Once these are completed, the Department will begin the process of issuing operating licences,” Crichlow said.  “The absence of such operating licences however does not mean that the Department of Agriculture is unable to regulate such facilities, as other sections of the Law provide the Department with the mechanisms for protecting animal health and welfare. “

He said that should any enterprise operate in such a way that the health or welfare of animals was put at risk the department has the power to address that situation.

“The current absence of operating licences is not unique to either of the dolphin facilities and is the case for all commercial animal operations,” Crichlow added. “In the specific case of the dolphin facilities, there are clear Conditions for ‘…Housing, Husbandry and Use of Bottlenose Dolphins in the Cayman Islands’ which have been agreed to by all parties and it is to these conditions that the facilities will be held to and evaluated against.”

Since the announcement that the controversial dolphinariums would go ahead in Cayman, there have been a number of concerns raised by local activists and those against the trade in dolphins, which is considered by many to be cruel and poorly regulated. While both the local dolphinariums Dolphin Discovery and Dolphin Cove have produced CITES papers to account for the history of the mammals that they have brought to Cayman, those against the trade have questioned the validity of the paperwork and raised concerns about how the treatment of the creatures will be regulated now they are here.

However, both Dolphin Discovery and Dolphin Cove have defended the shipment of the dolphins as legal and have said they are abiding to very high standards.

Philip Admire, Director of Zoological Operations at Dolphin Cove, said their mammals were exceptionally well taken care of and he had no doubts that once the regulations were written the facility would be offered a licence. “We already far exceed all the regulation standards for the US and Europe and I have no doubt that we will exceed the local regulations as well when they are written and therefore will get an operating licence,” he said, adding that Dr Colin Wakelin, the department’s senior vet, attends the facility regularly.

Dale Crighton of Dolphin Discovery has also said that his facility meets the very highest standards in the world and is confident that his dolphinarium would also be issued a licence.




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  1. JabJab says:

    Be interesting to know exactly what the questions regarding the validity of the CITES paperwork are. Speifics, not innuendo, please.

  2. Anonymous says:

     hope D.O.A. checks out the pirate caves in BT- can they fit anymore iguanas in one cage?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Business as usual, when the right people want something done a simple matter like proper regulating authority or legal importation documentation is easily dealt with. A blind man could see that this was a done deal from the get go regardless of any opposition.

  4. Green Hornet says:

    I find it fascinating that we have to jump through a thousand legislated hoops to import something or build a house, while the dolphinariums are allowed to operate without any regulatory oversight because the regs haven’t been written yet. Apparently, this istrue of many of the laws passed in Cayman — they are passed, but then nobody ever gets round to writing the back-up mechanisms to enforce the laws. Beats me why, if this cannot be done in a  timely and efficient manner, we don’t hire an extra person or two to do it. We seem to hire all sorts of other consultants who make millions doing things we apparently cannot do (and it often turns out that they can’t either!) — why not hire one or two to implement the laws we adopt?